Did you know that your local police station will engrave a bike identification number for you for free?

The issue is that this is only effective on a local level for tracing lost or stolen bikes. Now there’s MyBikeNumber, a free online service that lets you register your bicycle and components, or search for them worldwide. It has three major benefits:

1. As a bike-owner, you can register your bike on the site using the frame number and add photos to the profile page to help visually identify you bike. Registered bikes are allocated a unique QR code (mobile readable code) which can be printed as a sticker for the frame.

2. As a bike retailer, you can register your entire inventory under a single “dealer code”. Registered cycles can be reported as stolen or lost, or recorded as sold to a new owner, through the site.

3. As a prospective bike purchaser, you can visit the site and check the unique identifiers to ensure that the bicycle you want to buy is not stolen. If it is, a message can be sent securely through the site to inform the rightful owner.

We think MyBikeNumber is pretty innovative and if we ever start selling bikes we’ll be right in there. In the meantime, we’ve registered our (rather battered) bikes on the site.